A new survey shows that most people wish they had asked relatives more about their life while they were alive—after discovering interesting stories once they had passed.
In the lead up to Remembrance Day (11/11), when people honor war heroes on November 11, the poll of 2,000 adults found that 53 percent had learned something not previously known about a family member, but couldn’t ask them about it because they’d died.
The stories included wartime experiences, their childhood, and where they had travelled. Half the time, the tales were uncovered through speaking to others who knew relatives when they were younger. And, half of those respondents said it left them with more unanswered questions, but feeling closer to their family.
The survey, commissioned by Ancestry.co.uk, found a further 43 percent discovered a revelation when clearing out their relative’s home—and more than 40 percent of those polled admitted they don’t really know their family’s history.
A quarter of those polled regretted not speaking to their relatives more about their wartime stories in particular and 22% would love to discover an unknown war related tale within their family history.
Poet Nikita Gill wrote a new emotive poem about wartime stories, called Who You Are. She said, “Both my grandfathers were in the Indian Army during the Second World War, so I feel like I wanted to do justice to the stories of ordinary people who lived during a time of great change and uncertainty.
Simon Pearce, military history expert at Ancestry, said: “The wartime records available on Ancestry is full of fascinating accounts that shed light on how our ancestors once lived… and showcases the importance of having those discussions now to ensure these stories live on.”
The survey found that such discoveries left people feeling intrigued (32%), shocked (26%) and proud (25%).
The market research firm OnePoll found that while 29% would like to discover a family war story about life on the front line, one-quarter would enjoy hearing a love story, two in ten would ask about childhood hobbies, what jobs they had (19%) and where they met their partner (19%).
Ancestry.co.uk does offer a 14-day free trial if you want to explore your family’s wartime—and playtime—stories. (GNN is not affiliated with the company in any way.)